Las Cuevas del Almanzora
This Almerian town, which owes its name to the caves that can be found there and to the river that runs through it, offers the typical tourist a wide and diverse variety of things to do in their spare time and for fun. Its history, cultural and artistic heritage and its natural environment, which has no shortage of beaches, and the areas that are good for playing sports, convert Cuevas del Almanzora into a more than adequate destination for almost any type of tourist.
Lovers of the countryside and rural tourism will enjoy the complex of cave houses (casas-cueva) in the area of Calguerín, one kilometer away from the main urban hub of Cuevas del Almanzora. Among the 200 odd excavated caves in the rock that can be found here, there are some that are totally restored and set up as rural lodgings providing accommodation, and one of them is kitted out as a museum.
The chance to go scuba diving in the caves is a big attraction for sports enthusiasts, especially at beaches such as the Cala Cristal or the Embarcadero Viejo. Golf is popular in the area too with Europe´s first ever desert golf course at Desert Springs Golf Club and so is motorcycling with the European Supercross Championships taking place during the first few days of August. The 2005 Mediterranean Games of rowing and canoeing took place on the artificial lake here and there are many hikes to do both on the coast and inland.
Those who devote themselves to sun and beach tourism will find open beaches at Cuevas del Almanzora, such as Palomares, Villaricos, Calón or Pozo del Esparto and coves between cliffs like Panizo, los Invencibles or las Dolores.
This town also has a rich historical and artistic heritage of particular interest to those are more inclined to choose a holiday of so-called ´cultural tourism´. In the group of its numerous historical archaeological sites, Villaricos, Fuente Álamo and Almizaraque are the most important. Among their various monuments, attention is primarily drawn to the Marqués de Vélez Castle, erected in the 16th Century and in whose interior you will find the Casa del Alcaide, now the headquarters of the Antonio Manuel Campoy Museum of Contemporary Art and the Casa de la Tercia, home to the town´s library, the Historical Archive and the Museum of Archaeology.
Other stand-out buildings include Villaricos Castle, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación, San Sebastian church, San Francisco convent, the church of San Antonio Abad convent, the Shrine of Calvario and stately homes such as that of the Lissa, the Mansion of the Grains of Gold, Torcuato Soler Bolea and Alcázar of Sultana.
The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Antonio Manuel Campoy has a permanent exhibition dedicated to Don Quijote de la Mancha. Works by Picasso, Miró and many other Spanish artists are included in the large selection of watercolours, oils, sketches and engravings.
Castillo de Cuevas del Almanzora, Plaza de la Libertad. Tel. 950 458 063.
Open Monday to Friday 10.00 to 13.00 and 17.00 to 20.00.
Those who are most interested in the gastronomy of the town must not leave without trying the garlic soup, the olla de trigo, the gurullos with rabbit meat, ´pelota´ casserole as well as the desserts and sweet pastries and candies that are on offer like the candy sticks and cream ´cuernos´ or the aniseed donuts.
Those who want to visit the town to experience the traditional celebrations must be present during mid-November for the celebrations in honour of San Diego de Alcalá which go on for various days. The Easter Carnival and Easter week in May, are also important, and the Pilgrimage of Guazamara-Los Guiraos is one of the most popular of all these festivities that is celebrated by all the districts that surround this town.
How To Get There
Cuevas del Almanzora is located 100 kilometres from the city of Almería, from where one can take the 537 exit off the A-7 towards Murcia. From there, link onto the A-332 which will take you directly to your destination.